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SWETHA BHARGAVI ARUNKUMAR 2012-2018 Selected Works


Swetha Bhargavi Arunkumar Southern California Institute of Architecture M.Arch II 300 S Santa Fe Avenue Apt 517 Los Angeles, CA 90013 1 + 425-209-8752 Š 2018 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission of copyright owner.





SWETHA BHARGAVI ARUNKUMAR 2012-2018 Selected Works


Table of Contents


Semblances (academic)


Mixed Readings within the Picturesque (academic)


Long span structure concept (academic)


Advanced Materials and Tectonics (academic)


Preservation and Cultural Heritage (competition)


Design of a commercial complex (academic)


Motel - Conceptual design (academic)


Landscape design (academic)


Lodha Kolshet, Mumbai (internship)


BDD Chawls, Mumbai (internship)


Processing workshop (academic)


The Gestural Line (academic)



SEMBLANCES Design Studio Southern California Institute of Architecture (GRAD) PROJECT : Design of a District Library Group Project (Team of 2) INSTRUCTOR : Florencia Pita PROPOSED SITE : Duarte, CA PROJECT BRIEF : The studio deals with the idea of semblance; semblance between the Fictional and the Real. A library is designed in a digitally captured fabric/ fragment of Duarte. The process of photogrammetry, image capture, depth mapping and digital recreation of a composition of soaps formed the crux of the studio. With an attempt to capture the physical attributes of the soap and project it onto its digital image, the goal was to manipulate the digital image through a controlled workflow imparting to it, its original characteristics and also reimagine wand recreate new traits of its own. The resulting textures were then to be transformed into tectonic elements incorporating the qualities of transparency, depth and detail on the envelope of the building.


1. Elevation (North-West facing) 2. Roof Plan depicting landscaping scheme 3. Longitudnal Section through the automated book core




Building Floor Plate System

Building Structural System

The array of textures projected on to the digital image is a semi-controlled amalgamation of the original textures of the soap and the scripted, manipulated versions of them. The textures of the composition of soaps, (natural and scripted) are translated into tectonic elements. The structure is a steel frame system with a 6� thick concrete on metal deck floor, 3� composite decking, with a steel framing for a rainscreen system.

A spherical space is achieved, enabling the creation of a focal point - an automated book retrieval system as its core, flanked by an openplanned system of seminal spaces that can adapt to the changing nature of the library as a typology.

Automated Book Retrieval System

Ordering systems in the structure of the library

Facade Envelope System

Facade Tectonic System

Landscape system


The landscape around the building is so designed so as to create pause points and direction, and direct visitors towards the library. It envelopes the mass of the library at the lower floor, creating a community-centric space. The auditorium is positioned on the topmost level so as to create large-span free-flowing spaces underneath. The delineation of the built mass allows it to respond to the St. Gabriele mountain range, and this establishes the vibrant mass into the precinct.

Access to site and site context


Facade chunk showing tectonic elements

Exterior views : Facade textures translated to tectonic systems




Design Studio Southern California Institute of Architecture (GRAD) PROJECT : Design of a Mixed-use development Group Project (Team of 2) INSTRUCTOR : Kristy Balliet PROPOSED SITE : Southern California Flower Market, Los Angeles PROJECT BRIEF : Situated between a mid-rise and tower massing, the existing Flower market is intended to be redeveloped as a mixed use building, thus including a residential, office and a retail component in order to redefine its identity within the emerging urban cityscape. The projects will aim to blur the physical and/or implied line between expansive collective space, intimate units and nature and challenge the clarity of these borders to design the spaces of the everyday that are punctuated by curated atmospheres that reinvent, and possibly distribute, the qualities market hall.

View of the building from four blocks away

The studio intends to focus on an architecture that flickers between multiple grounds – fore, middle, and back – grounds. The studio will review qualities of the picturesque, notably, the disruption of the promenade in favor of the oblique, a preference for the elevational over the planimetric and a calibration of multiple centers. The designs are intended to calibrate accidental irregularities to challenge the consumption of a complete or primary image. The studio is engaging a multitude of orientations, leaning on a jostling of the massing between expectation of repetition and abrupt idiosyncrasies. As a typology, mixed use buildings often trade in negotiation or indifference. Not interested in the hybrid or the generic, the studio aims to amplify the experience of the distant mass, the intermediate glance and the intimate view all at once. Finally, in lieu of crisp distinctions and as an acknowledgment of the swallowing of a market hall within a repetitive massing, the projects will oscillate between background gestures and distributed highlights. View of the Public plaza from the adjacent building


Ground Floor Plan

GROUND PLAN 1’ = 1/32”

With an aim of investigating the multiplicity of use within mixed raedings, the project tries to incorporate the picturesque within the reading of a space, an image and a natural element.

Upper Floor Plan - residential unit layout

The building massing incorporates three elements: two kinked towers, the skirt and the jewel. These three elements are activated and experienced at varying levels, separately and simultaneously, depending on proximity to each. The building skirt serves as the base that absorbs the streetway into a public plaza. The two bent towers define the building within the city skyline with their distinct geometry and shape-shifting perspectives. The jewel, enclosed between the towers, creates opputunities for curated views looking up, down and through the volume into the cityscape. The jewel also encompasses interior environments with varying degrees of enclosure. TYPICAL PLAN 1’ = 1/32”


Longitidnal section, Transverse section and Elevation(East) LONGITUDINAL SECTION - TRANSVERSE SECTION - BUILDING ELEVATION 1’ = 1/32”

The spaces in the jewel get a multitude of views into the plaza

Stark profiles of the towers create distinct shapes in the skyline


In relation to the picturesque, the massing is read at the back, middle and foreground at varying levels of resolution. The jewel, a hyper-curated volume, activates the space between the towers as experential space aside from being inside the volume itself. The public plaza is developed to be percieved as one approaches the building. The stark profiles of the towers create varying shapes when looked at from different parts of the city. The project explores the idea of mixed readings within the picturesque as a way to determine the composition of a space and image, and the use of (unnatural) nature within the man-made.

The jewel provides oppurtunities of views of the city

The jewel encompasses varying degrees of enclosure


LONG-SPAN STRUCTURE CONCEPT Advanced Structures class Southern California Institute of Architecture (GRAD) PROJECT : Design of a Football stadium Individual Project INSTRUCTOR : Greg Otto The arch was designed to give the appearance of solidity without incurring the penalty of high wind loads. The arch has a lattice form consisting of 41 PROJECT BRIEF : steel rings (diaphragms) connected by spiralling tuUsing two precedent projects, the project intends to develop a bular chords and is formed of 13 modules with two design concept for a long-span that creates an enclosure tapering end sections. Thestructure arch (7.4m in diameter a structure-free interior space to house a football venue. atfor the base and weighing 1,750t) tapers at its ends and is supported on 70t hinges which are in turn supported on concrete bases founded on piles 35m CONCEPT : deep.

Formulated with an initial idea of a robust periphery and a soft but striking roof membrane, the concept for the design of the stadium is primarily interlocking curvilinear surfaces that are placed in harmony with each other. Following the ‘chip-like’ form, the light roof structure complements the rough and robust supporting structure, that still shares a visual harmony with the roof owing to its inclined curvilinear form.

PROJECT : DESIGN CONCEPT Formulated with an initial idea of a robust periphery and a soft but striking roof membrane, the concept for the design of the stadium is primarily interlocking curvilinear surfaces that are placed in harmony with each other. Following the ‘chip-like’ form, the light roof structure complements the rough and robust supporting structure, that still shares a visual harmony with the roof owing to its inclined curvilinear form.

Supported on 17 trussed steel columns, a ringed space truss forms the primary structure of the stadium. To span the roof, a fabric membrane is anchored from both the ringed truss and two massive arches that are anchored to the ground. This membrane, though held in place by tensioned cables from the arch, will need secondary structural members throughout its cross section. These structural members can be 3d trusses spanning from the nodes of the ringed truss system (not depicted in the diagrams). The membrane roof covers the seating on the longitudnal ends of the stadium. In order to roof the transverse ends also, a secondary fabric membrane spans these areas, and is anchored by the primary fabric membrane. The peripheral structure is designed such that it exposes the raw structure and thus gives a degree of rigidity and stability to the base, and is contrasted by the soft and flowing fabric that roofs the span of the stadium. The robust nature of the peripheral base structure is enhanced by membranes that span alternate sections of the peripheral structure, thus revealing the interior concrete structure at some instances but shielding it at others.

ROBUST BASE RING - Sets the starkness of the stadium from the ground

SOFT SPANNING MEMBRANE - Contrasts the rigid base and spans the interior of the stadium


The membrane that stretches between the trussed columns at the base can be used as a projection screen (like the Allianz stadium) and the roof fabric that is suspended in the downward direction from the ringed truss can house a scoreboard. Due to the asymmetrical form of the stadium, there is a directionality within the longitudnal section of the interior and thus directs spectators’ eyes towards either longitudnal end of the span.The curvilinear roof casts interesting shadows on the central space and provides shading to the seats at all times.

ADVANCED MATERIALS AND TECTONICS Southern California Institute of Architecture (GRAD) PROJECT : Analysis of a precedent and redevelopment of the envelope system to suit the climate of Los Angeles, CA Group Project (Team of 4) INSTRUCTOR : Maxi Spina PROJECT BRIEF : Beginning with analysis of a precedent in terms of structural and tectonic systems, the course culminated in modification of the selected tectonic system, so as to adapt to the climate and contect of Los Angeles. The intention of such a re-origination of the tectonic reality of the precedent is to study a novel set of formal, geometrical and technological associations. They demonstrate hpw the focused redevelopment of structure, envelope, interior and systems, together with an understanding of the constructive processes from which a building arises. They are meant to be systematically approached so as to re-inform the tectonic origins of the work without diminishing its performance. The case study selected was the China Academy of Art- Folk Art Museum by Kengo Kuma Architects



In congruence with the lightness of the existing facade of the Folk Art museum at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, China, an adaption is developed that attempts to address the local climate of the new site of the building, Los Angeles. Owing to the fact that Los Angeles predominantly experiences a hot and sunny climate in most months throughout the year, the main aim of the design of the facade system was to effectively shade the interior closely studying the direction of incident sunlight throughout the day.


Maintaining elements from the original Kengo Kuma design - the Low E double glazing fronted by the steel mesh with clay tiles embedded in the network, our adaptation of the design aims to distribute and redesign the length and orientation of the clay tiles carefully in order to provide effective shading throughout the day during hot months.

The inte also Our design thus incorporates longer tiles mesh and shorter tiles and a more scatte are calculated using the altitude angle of and light nature of the original facade, o lengths, responding to the local climate o

Low-E glazing controls the amount of UV radiation that penetrates the erior and the frontal steel-clay network, in addition to controlling sunlight, o produces interesting patterns of light and shade thoughout the interior. s and a denser distribution of tiles towards the higher end of the steel ered distribution of tiles towards the lower end. The lengths of the tiles f the sun at the hottest time of the day. Thus, maintaining the perforated our adaptation aims to more precisely calibrate the screen density and tile of Los Angeles.


PRESERVATION AND CULTURAL HERITAGE Competition entry, NASA - LIK Trophy National Institute of Technology, Trichy (UNDERGRAD) OBJECTIVE : To analyse and document a precinct of a dying art form or tradition which has the potential to be revived. It was also to design or redesign an existing structure to promote its cultural heritage. Group Project (Team of 24) THE SITE : Site chosen was Olappamanna Mana in the lush green hills of Palakkad district, Kerala, India, which was a centuries old Namboothiri homestead, a classic example of the state’s traditional architecture and the hearth of Kathakali, a traditional dance form.

NEED FOR CONSERVATION : The ardent dedication in preserving the art forms of Kathakali, music and Sanskrit makes it vital to preserve this precinct in all its beauty and charm.

PLANNING PRINCIPLES FOLLOWED : Rectangular layout since Vaasthu stipulates even number of sides. The western entrance, considered auspicious, is used for rituals. Similarly, an axis is followed, with all entrances aligned in the same line. It is observed that in most spaces within the mana compound, intercolumnation is such that the height of the column is equal to the distance between subsequent columns and is also equal to six times the diameter of the columns. The house (main mana) is located at a lower level than the rest of the buildings to ensure water supply from wells. The pathayapuras (supporting buildings), later evolved at a higher level owing to technological advancements, such as pumps for water supply .


23 PORTRAY The amphitheater to house the performances

PROMOTE The complex has spaces for the practice and profusion of various art forms

PRESERVE A gallery + exhibition space showcasing age-old artifacts and a sanctuary for the rich history

Cultural centre provides a centre to learn traditional art forms and also acts as a facility for the collaboration of professional artistes. In the design development, the academic zone is situated to the north-west (auspicious) and verandahs and corridors run along the periphery of the structure so as to act as a buffer space and protect from the heat from the exterior.

CONCEPT Rigidity leads to stagnation, which in turn leads to decay. The underlying concept is to develop spaces that ensure culture stands strong through collaboration (promote), capturing public attention (portray) and highlights the need for its preservation

Carrying forward the customary style of having a courtyard and a naalukettu, a circular courtyard with 2 units around it, is incorprated for the design of the exhibition space. It serves as the centre of knowledge and is open to public. Circular interior profile structured for display area of the gallery to create uninterrupted viewing space.


COMMERCIAL COMPLEX Design Studio, National Institute of Technology, Trichy (UNDERGRAD) PROJECT : Design of a Commercial complex (shopping mall) on the OMR Road in Chennai, India Individual Project INSTRUCTOR : Dr. K. Thirumaran and Prof. Premkumar OBJECTIVE : To design a commercial complex that would contain retail shops in all sizes, from small ones to large branded retail outlets and supporting facilities.

The design was developed with two central open wells covered with glass so as to allow sufficient natural light into the complex during the day. Retail shops are arranged around these central wells, thus easing user circulation and thus increasing the efficiency. Branded outlets are strategically placed on the side facing the highway so as to maximise visibility of the mall To symbolise attraction (or repulsion), the form of a horse-shoe shaped magnet attracting iron scraps dictates the scheme and two open wells would be created in the centres of each of the magnets which would act as an organizing element for the spaces around them.

Branded retail outlets strategically placed on the side abutting the road

Open well to allow sufficient light to all floors during the day. Circulation is improved by introducing a path crossing the open well. A similar open well is introduced in the second horseshoe too


Two secondary open wells are created at the end of each horse-shoe shaped configuration to efficiently manage the crowd into the large retail outlets and not cause confusion, A food court is planned on the ground floor of the scheme, towards to back, so it can pour out semi-outdoor seating spaces. Food kiosks and seating were located in the ground floor for need of a spacious parcel of space to accomodate seating and uninterrupted circulation. Common toilets were located at either end of the layout so as not to take up precious centre space but also be within a short distance from all shops. Branded shopping outlets are located on the side facing the road, since advertisements on their facades can attract people to the mall.

MOTEL - CONCEPTUAL DESIGN Design Studio, National Institute of Technology, Trichy (UNDERGRAD) PROJECT : Design of a Motel along the Trichy-Chennai Highway Individual Project INSTRUCTOR : Prof. D. Kannamma and Dr. A. Meenachi Sundaram DESIGN CONCEPT : Each set of activities was concieved as a separate block, connected to each other via passages. Restaurant and food court formed the frontage of the motel, since they would be the primary attraction in the motel. Lodging rooms are towards the back of the scheme, away from the highway noise and they can be accesssed only through a corridor on the first floor, limiting unwanted access and enhancing privacy



Landscape Design Studio, National Institute of Technology, Trichy (UNDERGRAD) PROJECT : Landscape design layout for an academic building in the NIT Trichy campus, India Individual Project INSTRUCTOR : Prof. Rajendra Babu DESIGN CONCEPT : Design approach is to design a fluidic sequence of spaces, organized around an iconic element. The intent was also to retain the existing trees as an integral part of the design and propose more in order to effect shading of parking areas thereby avoiding PVC sheets for the same. Centered around a reflective pool to view reflection of mural, the courtyard also has informal semicircular seating, scheme showcasing an interplay of different materials



LODHA KOLSHET, THANE Internship work, Architect Hafeez Contractor, Mumbai PROJECT : Mid-rise luxury apartments DESIGN BRIEF : The design brief was to prepare a luxury housing community which discourages vehicular traffic within ground level to the maximum. The goal was to create a humanized scale, with residential blocks limited to 8 floors and a pedestrian friendly environment within the scheme.

MY ROLE : To prepare plan and sections of the green area between Blocks I and J, showing interaction of private and public zones on the ground floor. To prepare 3 options of 2.5 BHK - 3 BHK configurations and 2 options of 2 BHK configurations for

MY ROLE : To develop various exterior facades for the residential blocks, experimenting with color, material and projections / recessions on the facade for the client to choose from.

MY ROLE : To prepare sketchup model of the clubhouse and develop facade and roofing elements to conform with the scheme and the client’s requirements.


BDD CHAWLS, MUMBAI Competition entry, Internship work, Architect Hafeez Contractor, Mumbai PROJECT : Rehabilitation of chawl (below poverty line) housing and proposal for sale-able apartments on site for MHADA (Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority), Govt. of Maharashtra, India DESIGN BRIEF : The proposal was to contain Rehabilitation units for the chawl (very low income) dwellers and sale plots including a variety of housing classes - EWS (Economically weaker section), LIG (Low income group), MIG (Middle income group) and HIG (High income group). In the first option of the proposal on NM Joshi Marg, development was to occur in 3 phases, every new phase planning to house the dwellers of the chawl buildings to be demolished in the subsequent phase. In total there were 1360 rehab units, 1600 LIG units, 480 MIG units and 240 HIG units. MY ROLE : Conceptual stage of arriving at the of rehab unit plans, making a Sketchup model of the proposal (option 1), drafting and rendering the Masterplan on CAD and Photoshop respectively and making phasing drawings.



The second option at NM Joshi Marg had an organizing element to efficiently direct traffic flow within the scheme and also plazas that could serve as hubs for social interaction. There are 12 rehab buildings, totally housing 2880 chawl dwellers, 960 LIG units, 600 MIG units and 480 HIG units MY ROLE : Conceptual stage of arriving at the of rehab unit plans, making a Sketchup model of the proposal (option 2), drafting and rendering the Masterplan on CAD and Photoshop respectively and making phasing drawings.



Visual Studies 2, Southern California Institute of Architecture (GRAD) PROJECT : To generate electronic sketchbooks through computer programming in the visual context Group Project (Team of 2) INSTRUCTORS : Casey Reas (co-founder, Processing software), Ryan Tyler Martinez PROJECT BRIEF : With Processing, an open source computer programming language and integrated development environment (IDE) built for the electronic arts, new media art, and visual design communities the worshop intended to teach the fundamentals of computer programing in a visual context, and to serve as the foundation for electronic sketchbooks. In three all-day workshops lead by Casey Raes, the workshop is intended to familiarize the seven elements of coding, regularity and random, export image and geometry, as well as motion, growth, form, simulation and emergence. In the first exercise, the nuances of music were generated into code, representing the texture of sounds as repetitive patterns and visually placing the effect that the music creates. In the second exercise, individual frames were taken from the ouput of a generated code and arranged to form a single image, as well as read as a single continuous object. The qualities of the line generated by the code were also exploited to create interesting shadows in motion.

1. Music translated to code 2. Qualities of the patterns generated by code create varying shadows at different positions 3. Multiple frames, each with a unique output of the code, used to create a singular image.



2. 3.


THE GESTURAL LINE Visual Studies 1, Southern California Institute of Architecture (GRAD) PROJECT : Building a vessel (enclosure) and exploring the qualities of a line using modelling techniques in Maya and Virtual Reality Group Project (Team of 2) INSTRUCTORS : Kristy Balliet, Casey Rehm 1.






PROJECT BRIEF : The course aimed to cover issues of contemporary representation and the development of splines in relation to complex digital form and physical and visual space. It engaged in recent techniques related to splines, gesture interfaces and virtual reality. The course was intended to help develop critical visual literacy and review modes of drawing and modeling in three-dimensional space, including the importance of precision and abstraction. Finally the course is intended to foster the development of architectural character. The goal of the first exercise was to develop a sense of containment, using gestures in virtual reality, as well as through conventional digital modelling. In the second exersise, these surface were populated with simple stamps, so as to give the surface of the container a texture, and develop moments where the character of the enclosure is maintained close to the original and also moments where the stamps completely dominate the surface and give a different quality to the enclosure. The third exercise was to script the surfaces of the enclosure using Processing, so that they may develop certain direction qualities and abstraction to a degree but not lose their adherence to a set of rules, dictated by code. The surfaces of the generated vessel are texture-mapped by scripting the unrolled images of their original textures.

1. Line drawing of major and minor gestures that form the enclosure 2. Render of Vessel surfaces 3. Stamps used to populate the surfaces 4. Vessel with populated surfaces 5. Vessel with scripted surfaces texture mapped with a scripted unrolled image of the original textures of the populated vessel 6. Section through vessel with scripted surfaces


1. Vessel composed of surfaces and lines 2. Vessels composed of surfaces and lines 3. Vessel with populated surfaces 4. Vessel with populated surfaces 5. Vessel with scripted surfaces 6. Vessel with scripted surfaces







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Swetha Arunkumar portfolio+resume  

20012-18 selected works